November 15, 2016

NEW YORK (AP) Dallas Mavericks star Dirk Nowitzki said Monday he is getting closer to returning from sore right Achilles.

Nowitzki missed his fourth straight game in the Mavericks' 93-77 loss to the New York Knicks. He had a lengthy pregame workout, but by then it was already decided that he wouldn't play.

''The biggest issue is still running,'' Nowitzki said after the game. ''I'm not a big runner at this stage in my career but I can't really go up and down yet. I haven't run in full practice. So it's not quite there yet but the good thing is it's getting better. I don't have the soreness I had last week obviously. I'll be doing more and more.''

Nowitzki sat out the second half of Dallas' loss in Portland on Nov. 4 and hasn't played since. Though the Mavericks are 2-7, they don't want the 38-year-old forward back until he's ready.

''I think he's really close. He's feeling a lot better and we just don't want to rush anything,'' owner Mark Cuban said. ''There's no reason to rush anything with him.''

The Mavericks also are playing without injured guards Deron Williams and Devin Harris, and on Monday shot under 39 percent against a Knicks team that had been struggling defensively. Nowitzki, the No. 6 scorer in NBA history, knows the offense will return once he does.

''We can't score enough. Obviously that's the one thing I can sort of do,'' Nowitzki said. ''I might not be any good at any other thing anymore but I can still score a little bit and help the team score, just helping offensively as much as I can. So it's tough. It is tough to sit over there and watch.''

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